Category Archives: Accountability

Do you have good SOP’s?

While processing an opportunity at a Vistage meeting last week, one member asked if the company had a SOP around the process being discussed.

“What’s an SOP?” asked a Second Member.The group laughed or groaned. >

Are you focusing on the right metrics?

Most companies get a lot of data from their internal reporting about sales, labor costs, materials used, payroll etc. In fact, there is a huge amount of monthly data, some comes daily and some companies get their data close to real time.

Digging through all that data to get to the 2 to 3 most important metrics that drive your business is a deep dive worth all your effort to achieve. Big companies have these metrics. They watch them in real time so they can adjust staffing, maintain equipment and create great customer satisfaction. They anticipate the customer’s reaction and respond before the customer can complain. Why don’t we?

I got a chance to ask the CEO of a ski resort what metrics they use to measure success. His response was sales and profitability versus plan.

Then I asked him how he gets measured running a resort that draws visitors based on the amount of snow, something he can’t control. His response was capacity utilization, staffing by hour and total sales divided by customers on the mountain. If he manages that well, they can get very close or equal the profitability goal. At least that was my mental summary as we got off the lift. One of the few times I wished I had stopped and made notes in my IPhone instead of speeding down the mountain.

By the way, I also asked how often he gets out skiing, given his responsibilities. With a big smile, he said several times a week. That was why he worked in the ski industry.

Next time we ride on a Chairlift together, or have a 1-2-1 or meet in a causal conversation, will you be able to tell me the 2-3 metrics that drive your business?



photo by Nora Paller



How do you keep focus on your strategic projects? – Part 2

Last week we laid out a tactical plan for how to make progress on your strategic projects.

I had some feed back about how people executed on the plan.

A Senior Leader of an organization with over 300 people, shared my blog with her direct reports and together they made plans for this week, honoring each others’ focused times and setting goals together. So, now they have created an accountability group within their team to move forward together. They are making this part of their culture.

A small business owner sent me an email mid week telling me about his day. Based on my blog, he took a really important but not “today urgent project” and set himself the goal of finishing it by the end of the day around all the interruptions by staff, phone calls from clients, etc. Each time when he finished with the interruption, he went back to his focus time and continued working on the project. He finished it by day end. He told me that the satisfaction he felt was unbelievable. And, that in the normal course of his workdays, this would never have happened.

Keep those strategic projects top of mind. Plan time to work on them. Find the small acts that have big results. Aargh. It is so annoyingly simple to describe and so hard to do consistently.

If you started this last week, keep going! If you haven’t started, there is no time like the present.

Photo courtesy of

How do you keep focus on your strategic projects?

As a Vistage Chair, I often hear a speaker more than once – sometimes 3 days in a row. I always learn something from each talk, and this week was no different. Mike Scott was giving his advanced workshop on accountability, and he asked us to write down our top strategic projects. I wrote down what my critical brain said “looks like tomorrow’s tasks to me”.

When Mike called us all back from our thoughts, he said, “Like Nora, one of my strategic projects is to keep my pipeline full. So this morning before we started, I made 3 calls to follow up on prospective work.”

Gulp, that wasn’t even on my list. Yet, as he said it, I absolutely knew that keeping my pipeline full is or should be one of my top 3 strategic activities every week. In fact, it went to the top of the list. Mike suggested that we write the top 3 strategic activities into our phone, or somewhere we can often see it.

That seems so obvious, doesn’t it? Keep our focus on our strategic priorities. And, we don’t do it. We lose our focus on the important, overwhelmed by the urgent.

Further, we don’t plan time to work on the strategic. We get to it when we get to it. Maybe after everyone has left for the day. Or, first thing in the morning because we get in so early. Or, its weekend work, or we stay home to do it cause we can’t focus in the office.

Stop it! Make appointments with yourself to work on your strategic projects. Close the door and do not answer when people knock. Put your cell phone in a drawer set to Airplane Mode. Make it part of your culture so that everyone has focused strategic work time. Keep track of your outcomes. Let’s see if you don’t reach your strategic goals faster and with less stress.


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